The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed Delhi University to lay down fresh physical standard criteria for students who take admission under the sports quota for indoor games like chess.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said: “Laying down a ll these standards is not the function of the courts, therefore, this court can only direct the University of Delhi to consider the matter in the light of our observation and after indepth deliberations come out with the physical standards which are required for” these games.
The court’s direction came on a plea filed by a student seeking the quashing of the university’s guidelines for a mandatory fitness test to seek admission under the sports quota, even for indoor games like chess and carrom.
Petitioner Chetna Karnani, a 17-year-old chess player who secured 72.5 percent in her Class 12 exams, had sought admission under the sports quota. In June, she failed in the fitness test because of her obese stature.
The court declined to grant any relief to Karnani saying that “unless the Delhi University prescribes fresh standards for games like chess, we cannot grant any relief to her”.
The university was directed to reformulate physical standards for games like chess which it could implement from the next academic year, said the court.
The court said the existing physical standard criteria was apt and justified for outdoor games and also indoor games like badminton and table tennis, in which physical activity was involved.
“It may not be entirely rational to have this criteria for games like chess,” the court said.
“No doubt it is the physical fitness which leads to mental fitness. However, it should be examined as to whether for a person playing games like chess a level of physical fitness is appropriate,” the court said.
The judges were of the opinion that different standards of physical fitness may be required for games like chess and carrom.
Karnani challenged the revised guidelines of the university and its sports council dated May 18 which mandated “general physical fitness test” for admissions under the sports quota.
She applied for B.A. (English) course in four colleges of the university under the sports quota for chess players.
The petitioner said that she had been pursuing the game of chess for more than seven years.
“Chess is an indoor game and it has nothing to do with the level of physical fitness a candidate must possess,” said the petition.